News from the Somerset County Board of County Commissioners

Shanel Y. Robinson, Commissioner Director Ÿ Doug Singleterry, Commissioner Deputy Director

Sara Sooy, Commissioner Ÿ Melonie Marano, Commissioner Ÿ Paul M. Drake, Commissioner


For Immediate Release

September 28, 2023


Save the Date for Somerset County’s Diversity Festival Featuring Multi-Cultural Music, Dance, Food and Family Fun, Oct. 15

‘Everyone Belongs Here’



The Zydeco Revelators get the audience dancing at the 2022 Somerset County Diversity Festival.



SOMERVILLE, NJ – The Somerset County Board of Commissioners invites everyone to the fifth annual free Diversity Festival, which will feature multicultural performances including five unique mini concerts, and two dance performances. There will also be food trucks, games and activities for people of all ages. The festival will take place along Main and Grove Streets in downtown Somerville on Sunday, Oct. 15, from 12 to 4 p.m.

“Every year the festival gets bigger and better. I don’t think there is another venue in the county where so many cultures are represented in one day,” said Somerset County Commissioner Director Shanel Y. Robinson. “Participating in the games and activities and enjoying the multicultural music are some of the best ways to break down barriers and learn about other cultures, which is what this festival is all about.”

“There are many things about the festival that are special, but the music performances really stand out,” said Somerset County Diversity Event Committee Co-Director Paul Grzella. “This year there were 18 musical groups who applied to perform and only five were chosen.”


Music Performances

Forbidden Tropics performs Afro-Peruvian Jazz like no other band. The exciting ensemble composes music that bridges musical genres using experimental sounds of Afro-Peruvian rhythms Festejo, Lando, Zamacueca, and Panalivio while blending intricate chord progressions of traditional jazz. The band will be performing on the Main Stage from 12 to 12:45 p.m.

Vocal Synergy is an a cappella choral group of diverse members who recently performed at Carnegie Hall. Their performance is a unique blend of a capella voices singing a broad rand of exciting genres including pop, Broadway and classical choral pieces. See them at the opening ceremony on the Main Stage from 12:45 to 1:05 p.m.

Summer Wind Chinese Jazz Ensemble performs an exotic and unique blend of Chinese Folk, American Jazz and Hollywood-film music. See them on the Main Stage from 1:45 to 2:30 p.m.

BR Youth Artists play the Chinese Zither and Chinese Violin like seasoned professionals creating a sophisticated and distinct sound with the zither, a special stringed instrument, and the violin. Their music will be accompanied by a brief Chinese dance. See them at 2:30 to 3 p.m.


Eric Cabanilla’s Grupo K’ndela is one of the hottest salsa bands in New York City, and many other cities in the tri-state area. The high-energy group performs spicy musical blends of Cuban, Puerto Rican and American influences. Watch the performance on the Main Stage from 3:15  to 4 p.m.


Dance Performances

Dance X Studio performs Bollywood-style, a theatrical style of dance often seen in films, which is heavily influenced by traditional Indian folk dance. Dancers use hand, feet, face and neck movements to create an exotic and stunning performance. Watch them from 1:05 to 1:15 p.m.

Qing Yang Dance Group performs Chinese folk-dance fusing modern and traditional dance with ballet, which results in a highly varied art form. Watch them at 1:20 to 1:35 p.m.

Other Diversity-Related Activities

Join the “Courageous Conversation,” an info-session where people will have the opportunity to voice their opinions about sensitive diversity-related topics as well as learn how to facilitate their own “Courageous Conversation” sessions at work or in the community. The workshop takes place at 2 p.m. in the first-floor conference room at 27 Warren St., Somerville.


“The History of Loteria” Info-game: Listen, learn, and play Mexican-style Bingo to win a gift basket worth $50. Led by Mexican-American Vania Cevallos, this fun and informational game is appropriate for people of all ages. The event will take place in the lobby of the Administration Building on Grove St., from 1 to 1:45 p.m.

More Fun, Food, Activities, Games and Resources

Everyone will have fun participating in games, prize drawings and giveaways happening throughout the day. Parents can bring their children to the Kidz Zone to romp in a Bouncy House, take a whack at the Piñata and enjoy Conrad the Magician’s magic show, face painting and more.

Kidz Zone Starter Stage

Young performers will showcase their talent in the Kidz Zone. This year’s inaugural performance will feature a traditional Sikhi-inspired dance performance by students of the Kaur and Singh Academy at 2:10.

Prize Drawings

Enter a prize drawing for a chance to win $100 gift card to any shop in Bridgewater Commons, tickets to the planetarium at RVCC and the RVCC theatre, tickets to a Patriots game, a $30 gift certificate to BAM Desserts, and a gift pack to Brook Arts Center.

Prizes are donated by local businesses made possible through a partnership between the Diversity Festival Event Committee and the Somerset County Business Partnership.

Food trucks will offer Mexican food, pierogis, and desserts.

Diversity-Related Community Organizations

Exhibitors promoting diversity, equity and inclusion will provide information about community resources, and free programs and services. American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters will be available for the hearing impaired.

Free Parking

Parking is free in Somerville at the Bernie Field Parking Deck located on High Street or in the parking deck at 27 Warren St. 

For up-to-date information about the Diversity Festival, visit 2023 SCDiversityFestival.

For more information about the festival, contact Diversity Committee Co-Director Kim Cowart at

Somerset County Diversity Festival

The Diversity Festival is sponsored by the Somerset County Board of County Commissioners, co-sponsored by the Downtown Somerville Alliance, and organized by the employees of Somerset County. The festival is one of several Somerset County diversity initiatives launched in 2019 to help educate, embrace, encourage, and support diversity among the county’s multicultural residents, and to help continue creating vibrant connections within the county’s communities.

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